China reports rise in new virus cases as death toll nears 1,800

China has once again reported a rise in the coronavirus infection rate in Hubei Province — the epicenter of the outbreak — two days after a fall in the number as the death toll from the disease nears 1,800.

Health officials reported 1,933 new cases and 100 new deaths in Hubei on Sunday. The number of new cases rose nearly 5 percent from the previous day, but the number of deaths fell from 139, according to the officials.

The said nearly 90 percent of the new cases were in the provincial capital of Wuhan, a city of 11 million people.

The never-seen virus was believed to have originated at a market illegally trading wildlife in the city late last year.

Ever since, 70,548 cases were confirmed across mainland China, with 1,770 deaths.

The rise in the number of new cases came two days after health officials reported that the number of confirmed cases had slowed.

The medical officials said of 70,548 cases in mainland China, 10,844 people have so far been treated and released from hospital.

People wearing facemasks look on during a rehearsal of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics torch relay in the capital on February 15, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

The new increase in the number of infections prompted the authorities to impose new restrictions on movement in Hubei.

Under the new restrictions imposed on Sunday, vehicles, apart from essential services, are banned from the roads in Hubei. Companies are also told to stay closed until further notice.

The fast-spread virus, which crossed the Chinese borders, has so far infected more than 500 people and killed at least five across the world.

China mulls over delaying key parliament meeting

Amid efforts to contain the virus outbreak, China is considering delaying the political annual meeting of parliament for the first time in decades, the official news agency Xinhua reported Monday.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress will meet on Wednesday to discuss the postponement of the meeting of the full parliament, which was planned to convene on March 5.

Some 3,000 members of the parliament were expected to gather in Beijing for about two weeks of meetings attended by President Xi Jinping and other top leaders.

The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference — an advisory body made up of around 2,000 representatives from companies, ethnic minorities, cultural organizations and other groups — takes part in the meeting every year.

More Japanese arrived from Wuhan

Japan, the most affected country behind China, said it has repatriated 65 more of its nationals from Wuhan on Monday.

A total number of 763 Japanese nationals have so far been evacuated from the city.

More than 400 people are infected in the country.

Japan cancels Emperor’s public birthday celebrations

In another development in Japan, authorities said they would cancel a public gathering to celebrate the birthday of new Emperor Naruhito.

“In light of various situations, we have decided to cancel the visit by the general public to the palace for His Majesty’s birthday,” the imperial household agency said later on Monday.

One new case confirmed in Thailand

Thailand health officials said one new case was detected on Monday, bringing the total in the country to 35 since January.

Fifteen people have recovered and return home. No death has so for recorded in Thailand.

Quarantined Australians released

In the meantime, Australia released more than 200 people who were quarantined at an immigration detention center in the Indian Ocean territory of Christmas Island.

They were all given the all-clear from the viral disease, official said.

14 Americans test positive for coronavirus

 The US State Department said 14 people tested positive for the viral infection among people who were evacuated from a Japanese quarantined cruise ship.

Officials said the passengers had already disembarked from the Diamond Princess and were preparing to return to the United States on chartered aircraft, when officials were informed about the 14 positive cases.

“During the flights, these individuals will continue to be isolated from the other passengers,” said the department.

All other passengers will undergo 14 days quarantine as soon as they arrive in the US.

About 380 Americans and family members were on the cruise ship when it was quarantined earlier this month for the virus outbreak. At least 355 cases have been detected on the Diamond Princess so far.

Iran students ‘in good health’

Some 60 Iranian university students who returned from Wuhan on February 5 have all tested negative and are set to leave quarantine later on Monday.

Noorollah Taheri, governor of Shahriar County in Tehran Province, where the students were quarantined, said the students are all in good health.

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